The Amazing Spider-Man (PS3/Xbox 360) Box Art(http://www.theamazingspidermangame.com)  Rated T for teen by ESRB.   It has been 50 spectacular years since Stan Lee and Steve Ditko introduced Spider-Man in Amazing Fantasy #15. Since his first issue, Spidey has appeared in over 30 video games, but none have been quite as gorgeous as Beenox Studios’ The Amazing Spider-Man. The obvious strengths of a movie tie-in’s visuals and concept design coupled with recent developments in the several comic book arcs have led to a very well fleshed out world for our pithy web-head to explore. Characters not seen in the motion picture like Scorpion, Black Cat, and The Rhino are believable and mesh perfectly with this movie-verse adaptation. The villains are designed in such a way that compliment the fantasy realism, and still bring a comic book punch to the screen. That said, long time wall crawlers may find themselves a little forlorn at the loss of intricately written Mac Gargan, the original Scorpion, or loveably dimwitted Aleksei Sytsevich who became Rhino. According to this version of Spider-Man, all the villains are no longer humans with powers and suits, but instead nano-machine injected animals with human DNA mutations. While these changes make sense in the story line, it still rings a bit hollow for the fanboys(and girls) playing the game.

The Amazing Spider-Man (PS3/Xbox 360) Box ArtThe Amazing Spider-Man (PS3/Xbox 360) Logo(http://www.theamazingspidermangame.com) Rated T for teen by ESRB.  It has been 50 spectacular years since Stan Lee and Steve Ditko introduced Spider-Man in Amazing Fantasy #15. Since his first issue, Spidey has appeared in over 30 video games, but none have been quite as gorgeous as Beenox Studios’ The Amazing Spider-Man. The obvious strengths of a movie tie-in’s visuals and concept design coupled with recent developments in the several comic book arcs have led to a very well fleshed out world for our pithy web-head to explore. Characters not seen in the motion picture like Scorpion, Black Cat, and The Rhino are believable and mesh perfectly with this movie-verse adaptation. The villains are designed in such a way that compliment the fantasy realism, and still bring a comic book punch to the screen. That said, long time wall crawlers may find themselves a little forlorn at the loss of intricately written Mac Gargan, the original Scorpion, or loveably dimwitted Aleksei Sytsevich who became Rhino. According to this version of Spider-Man, all the villains are no longer humans with powers and suits, but instead nano-machine injected animals with human DNA mutations. While these changes make sense in the story line, it still rings a bit hollow for the fanboys(and girls) playing the game.

The story takes on a predictable movie-tie in route. Taking place just after the events of the movie, our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man must stop the outbreak of a viral nano-machine that is able to turn people into mutant lizard zombies. This is an evolved form of the serum that turned Dr. Connors into the Lizard, unfortunately instead of being somewhat controllable super power, now its just a deadly mess. Of course, Spidey’s main squeeze gets infected early on while giving Peter a tour of Oscorp, and curing her acts as the driving force for Parker’s web swinging adventures.



Graphics:
The Amazing Spider-Man manages to live up to the visuals the movie created, while bringing some of the comic’s character and style to the party. Favoring a realistic template, adding bright and vivid colors as well as beefing up  Spidey compared to his on-screen counterpart really helped push the game closer to cohesion with the comic. While design-wise The Amazing Spider-Man is absolutely gorgeous, the execution is only at times brilliant. Repetitive props, heavily pixilated foliage, muddy texture work, and rampant texture pop-in all serve to mar what could have been a breathtaking excursion through a relatively accurate Manhattan island. Unfortunately, matters are made worse by a fidgety and uncooperative camera, which really hinders your ability to traverse the streets and sewers without minor nausea.

The Amazing Spider-Man (PS3/Xbox 360) Screenshots The Amazing Spider-Man (PS3/Xbox 360) Screenshots The Amazing Spider-Man (PS3/Xbox 360) Screenshots

Sounds:
Spider-Man is a talkative character by nature, which is why the voice acting and sound work is really disappointing in Beenox’s adaptation. Mildly smirk worthy puns riddle the dialogue, which would be a huge problem if more than 5 lines of non cut-scene dialogue existed. While swinging through the city or battling what seems to be the same 3 thugs over and over again, Spidey will quip one of maybe 10 lines that barely make the grade on their first utterance. By the hundredth time you hear the web head shout “Don’t smile at me” while he suplexes a lizard zombie or mugger, you are ready to cut the voice volume off entirely. A sub par soundtrack does not help the audio presentation. While swinging I found myself searching for a theme song, something I’d kill to have on my playlist like Danny Elfman’s 2002 Spider-man theme. Unfortunately nothing of that memorable caliber presents itself and a few hours in you realize that you have been listening to Spidey’s repetitive quips and random sound effects.

The Amazing Spider-Man (PS3/Xbox 360) Screenshots The Amazing Spider-Man (PS3/Xbox 360) Screenshots The Amazing Spider-Man (PS3/Xbox 360) Screenshots

Gameplay:
One of the bright spots in the game is of course the web swinging. Despite the shoddy camera, slinging yourself through New York has never been quite as fun or nearly as visceral. Each plunge from the top of your swing feels almost real and weighted. The feeling that Beenox managed to inject into the traversal is something to remember for future games in the series. The movement is easy to learn, with some finer touches that come with time, and remains immensely satisfying. Combat, on the other hand, leaves much to be desired. A over simplified 3 button combat system manages to get in the way more than it helps. Auto lock-on that only sometimes locks on, randomized finishers that somehow remain repetitive, and a dodge and counter system that manages to have the least visible indicator ever in the form of spider sense lines around Peter’s head all severely impede the fun of bashing the bulked up bullies. The fun of the fantastic web swing is drowned in excessive indoor and under ground missions. Stealth take-downs are made near impossible all too often by the broken camera and a targeting reticule that is placed precariously from the player’s line of sight. Over all the game plays well enough, but those seeking deeper and more fulfilling control will be disappointed by the questionable design decisions and many yet minor flaws.

The Amazing Spider-Man (PS3/Xbox 360) Screenshots The Amazing Spider-Man (PS3/Xbox 360) Screenshots The Amazing Spider-Man (PS3/Xbox 360) Screenshots

Longevity:
While in most cases, longevity can be a very good gift to the player, there are times when it feels more like a punishment. The Amazing Spider-man treads this line very uncomfortably. 4 types of collectable exist; costumes, technology, magazines and comic book pages. While costumes are few, far between, and require you to beat the game once, comic pages become less of an exciting egg hunt and more of an annoying mindless task. No fewer than 700 pages fill the world, and since these only unlock in game versions of important spider-man comics, finding all of them is a chore with no in game reward. Technology and magazines serve as experience points and unlocks for skills and upgrades, and can only be found during the indoor missions. Trophy and achievement hunters may be more annoyed than entertained at the prospect of searching for 700 items that randomize themselves throughout Manhattan every time you turn around.

When all is said and done, The Amazing Spider-Man is a great experience for young audiences and pre-teen aged web-heads, but hardcore gamers and the older Spider-Man fans will be hard pressed to enjoy the game for more than a few hours. While the game has a strong foundation and some really cool design work, simple game-play mechanics serve as a means to an end. However nothing about the game, aside from the swinging, reaches much higher than “going through the motions” of a movie tie in. Pick the game up for your little wall crawler, or only the biggest Spider-Man fan in your family.

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